14 January 2016
hold a sign saying "Isagen is not for sale"
in protests in
Bogota, Colombia Jan 13, 2016.
Analysts say President Juan Manuel
sold Colombia's public energy company to a Canadian firm, which
has been accused of bribery, based on Blair's influence.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the main player
in setting up a deal between
Canadian company Brookfield and the
Colombian government to sell off
the country's public electricity company,
The move angered Colombians who took to the streets in the capital
Bogota Wednesday to protest the privatization of one of the
country's largest energy companies.
According to media reports Thursday, Blair had a major role to play
in the privatization after he introduced Colombian President Santos
to senior members on the board of Brookfield:
The two men reportedly developed a close relationship after Blair
worked with the Fundacion Buen Gobierno, translated as the
Good Government Foundation - a Santos initiative to promote
"democracy and good governance" in the country - according to
Analysts have also condemned the move, saying the Canadian company
has a history of business misconduct, including bribery, and said
the business deal only went through because of Blair's close
relationship to the president.
"The buyers are some gentlemen from
Brookfield, a transnational financial (firm) made up of
speculators and located in a tax haven with a bad reputation,
that analysts in the United States do not recommend investing
in, accused of bribery in Brazil, and linked to… Tony Blair, the
ex-prime minister of England, and a very good friend of doctor
Santos," congressperson with the Alternative Democratic Pole
party, Jorge Enrique Robledo, told teleSUR.
Brookfield owns and manages assets of
more than US$200 billion in,
the United States
In the latter country, Brookfield is
facing accusations of paying bribes to negotiate the real estate
sector in 2012.
Public Prosecutor of Justice and Social Heritage of Sao Paulo,
Brazil Silvio Antonio Marques told the Wall Street Journal
that the company owned malls in the region and paid bribes to the
mayor in order to get building permits.
Despite these pending accusations, Santos went ahead with the deal,
selling off the government's 60 percent share of Isagen, but
Brookfield is also expected to buy the rest of the shares from